Illinois General Assembly

Previous General Assemblies

Full Text of SJR0027  98th General Assembly

SJ0027eng 98TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY


  

 


 
09800SJ0027 EngrossedLRB098 11308 GRL 42622 r

1
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 27
2
(As Amended by Senate Amendment No. 1)

 
3    WHEREAS, The freedom of speech and other rights set forth
4in the United States Constitution are fundamental to our
5democracy; and
 
6    WHEREAS, Fair and free elections are essential to democracy
7and effective self-government; and
 
8    WHEREAS, The United States Constitution, as well as the
9Bill of Rights and further amendments, are intended to protect
10the rights of individual human beings ("natural persons");
11corporations and other artificial entities are not mentioned in
12the Constitution and the citizens of this nation have never
13granted constitutional rights to corporations and other
14artificial entities; and
 
15    WHEREAS, In the words of Supreme Court Justice John Paul
16Stevens, native son of the great State of Illinois, "Money is
17property; it is not speech" protected by the First Amendment,
18as stated in Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Gov't PAC, 528 U.S. 377,
19398 (2000) (Stevens, J., concurring); and
 
20    WHEREAS, The Members of the Illinois General Assembly find
21a compelling interest in creating a level playing field and

 

 

09800SJ0027 Engrossed- 2 -LRB098 11308 GRL 42622 r

1ensuring that all citizens, regardless of wealth, have an
2opportunity to have their political views heard; and
 
3    WHEREAS, Campaign finance laws, including limits on
4campaign expenditures and contributions from any source, are
5key tools to combating political corruption; and
 
6    WHEREAS, The Supreme Court, in Buckley v. Valeo, held that
7the use of money to influence elections is the equivalent of
8speech and that government cannot constitutionally limit the
9amount of money that individuals can spend to influence the
10electoral process; these deeply and dangerously undemocratic
11precedents were expanded upon in Citizens United v. Federal
12Election Commission (2010) and SpeechNow.org v. Federal
13Election Commission (2010 U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit),
14unleashing a torrent of corporate and private money into our
15political process that has been unmatched by any campaign
16expenditures in United States history and drowning out the
17voices of the ordinary citizens we represent; and
 
18    WHEREAS, In recent decades, a divided United States Supreme
19Court has transformed the First Amendment into a powerful tool
20for corporations and other artificial entities to evade and
21invalidate democratically enacted reforms; and
 
22    WHEREAS, In 2012, 73% of Illinois residents, voting on

 

 

09800SJ0027 Engrossed- 3 -LRB098 11308 GRL 42622 r

1ballot questions similar to the PRAIRIE Resolution, called for
2a constitutional amendment, transcending party lines and
3geographic location; and
 
4    WHEREAS, Article V of the United States Constitution
5empowers the people and states of the United States of America
6to use the constitutional amendment process to correct those
7egregiously wrong decisions of the United States Supreme Court
8that go to the heart of our democracy and republican form of
9government; therefore, be it
 
10    RESOLVED, BY THE SENATE OF THE NINETY-EIGHTH GENERAL
11ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
12CONCURRING HEREIN, that we, as elected representatives of the
13people, respectfully but emphatically disagree with the
14aforementioned decisions of the United States Supreme Court and
15call upon the United States Congress to propose and send to the
16states for ratification a constitutional amendment to overturn
17Citizens United v. FEC, SpeechNow.org v. FEC, Buckley v. Valeo,
18and other related cases that allow for unlimited election
19spending; and be it further
 
20    RESOLVED, That such an amendment should make clear that the
21rights of persons protected by the Constitution are the rights
22of natural persons and not those of corporations or other
23artificial entities; and be it further
 

 

 

09800SJ0027 Engrossed- 4 -LRB098 11308 GRL 42622 r

1    RESOLVED, That such an amendment should make clear that
2money can facilitate speech but its use is not, in and of
3itself, speech within the meaning of the First Amendment, and
4can be regulated; and be it further
 
5    RESOLVED, That such an amendment should make clear that
6corporations and other artificial entities are subject to
7regulation by the people through the legislative process, so
8long as the regulations are consistent with the powers of
9Congress and the states and do not limit freedom of the press;
10and be it further
 
11    RESOLVED, That such an amendment should make clear that
12federal, state, and local governments shall have the power to
13require disclosure of, limit, and regulate all election
14contributions and expenditures, whether to candidates or
15ballot measures, including political contributions and
16expenditures from individuals, corporations, unions, political
17committees, other artificial entities, and candidates; and be
18it further
 
19    RESOLVED, That we state our belief that such a
20constitutional amendment supports the goals of the people of
21Illinois in achieving a level playing field in election
22expenditures, regardless of their source; and be it further
 

 

 

09800SJ0027 Engrossed- 5 -LRB098 11308 GRL 42622 r

1    RESOLVED, That the Illinois congressional delegation is
2urged to propose a joint resolution offering such an amendment
3to the United States Constitution and to work diligently to
4bring such a joint resolution to a vote and passage, including
5use of discharge petitions, cloture, and every other procedural
6method to secure a vote and passage; and be it further
 
7    RESOLVED, That the individual Members of the Illinois
8General Assembly are encouraged to ratify such an amendment to
9the United States Constitution that is consistent with the
10policy of the State of Illinois as herein declared; and be it
11further
 
12    RESOLVED, That we call upon other states and jurisdictions
13to join with us in this action by enacting similar resolutions
14to secure the restoration of constitutional rights and fair
15elections to the people of Illinois and all citizens of the
16United States; and be it further
 
17    RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be
18delivered to each member of the Illinois congressional
19delegation, the Speaker and the Minority Leader of the United
20States House of Representatives, and the Majority Leader and
21Minority Leader of the United States Senate.